Well, with the girls being sick the last few days, I'm just dragging my feet in everything. Thankfully, last night I only got up four times...that I can remember! Hopefully they will be feeling better soon. A lot of people around us have had strep, but I don't think that's the case in our house, because there's barely been any fever. I'm pretty sure the toddler was having allergy issues, and the baby is teething. Last night I finally caved and gave the baby a pacifier because she'd already eaten twice in two hours. I knew she didn't really need to eat again. But I just felt if I'd made it 6 1/2 months I shouldn't need to give her a paci now...especially for how fussy she was as a newborn. But I gave it to her, she fell asleep, and I took it. So hopefully she still won't become dependent upon it.
I've had my Toddler Tuesday planned out for several days, which is why I'm still writing it a day late. I so enjoy reading other blogs for mommy ideas. So I thought, "Why not share some of the things I do with my kids. Someone might like my ideas!"
I've been amazed to read different emails and sites, as well as to hear from other parents, how children are expected to be developing at the age of two. There are two different extremes. Many of the children we know have been in daycare since they were six weeks old. Somewhere around 18months the parents start calling the daycare their child's school. The children are given worksheets to color, and begin training with their numbers and letters. When I found this out, I was all ready to drive to the textbook store and pick up all of the preschool books for my daughter because I didn't want her to get behind. But then I read things that indicate that the lessons my daughter's friends are getting at school are more age appropriate to a three year old. One Sunday I was talking with some ladies in our church nursery who has each been a kindergarten teacher at some point, and each of them told me that they get children starting kindergarten who don't know anything--no numbers, shapes, letters. I know this to be true, because I remember being the only kid in my kindergarten class who knew those same basics. So, what does my child really need to know now? What should I be doing to make sure she's not behind, but also make sure that I'm not pushing her to be ahead of what she needs to know right now. I was discussing this with one mother in order to figure out what books I would need to begin schooling my two year old. (All the while I'm wondering, "Is it really necessary to begin schooling her now?") This wise mother told me something that helped me relax. She said, "They're just babies, and they're going to be in school for at least fifteen years anyway. Why push them now?" I totally agree with her! I've also come to realize that, if I'm being a diligent mother, my daughter will still learn the things she needs to know before kindergarten without having any formal schooling.
This said, I would like to share some of the things I do with my children to help educate them. Some of these are things I have done since the day they were born. They may seem simple, (and I'm definitely not professing to be some type of child-educating expert!) but each little thing helps mold their minds. From the day my children were born I've named their body parts to them as I'm dressing them or giving them a bath. Another thing I've done is point shapes and colors when we're looking at objects or pictures. No, I don't expect my six month old to know her colors, but as a result her sister had an awareness that objects have colors and shapes at a very early age.
Recently I've been working with my daughter on the concept of sorting things by type. We've done a few fun things to help her understand.
Crayons - The other day my daughter was trying to put her crayons away and accidentally dumped the whole container of crayons. Rather than having her just put the crayons away, I sat down on the floor with her and put the pile of crayons in between us, and the container next to me. Then I asked her to hand me all of the green crayons. We then counted each green crayon as we put it in the container. We did this with each color. I saved gray for last since that was a color name she hadn't learned yet. It's simple, but through this "activity" she practiced her colors and numbers, learned a new color, and worked on sorting by types.
Letters - My daughter has this foam alphabet puzzle, and each row of letters is a different color. She loves putting the letters into the puzzle, and she's very good at it. When we're doing the puzzle together I will have her separate the letters by colors and then put the puzzle together one color at a time. As we put the puzzle together I'll tell her the name of the letter and the sound it makes. She does pretty well recognizing some of the letters and their sounds just through this activity, but I'm not pushing her into learning everything now. Through this activity she practices colors, letters, sounds, and even some shapes. She knows the "Q" because it is a circle with a stick. (I thought I had a picture of the colors separated, but couldn't find it, but at least you have a visual of what the puzzle is like.)
Groceries - My daughter likes to help put the groceries away. Yesterday I was organizing the food that we've purchased for vacation (enough for ten people for a week!), so I had her hand me the things as I wanted them in the cabinet. "Hand Mommy the cereal," and she found all of the cereals and brought them to me. "Now the crackers," and so on. It wasn't much of a sorting on her part, but it still helped her recognize the different items and separating them from others.
I know sorting may not be something overly important, but she has two OCD parents when it comes to sorting and organizing. So that's just something she's going to learn. :)